Friday, April 27, 2012

Why People Hate Adverbs

I stood resolutely in my pro-adverb stance. I loved the adverbs fiercely, truly, emphatically.

When a character said something, they said it annoyingly or brashly, sometimes harshly. If they were happy, they'd wave ecstatically, nod excitedly, jump up and down feverishly.

I stubbornly jutted out my chin. Desperately, I needed someone to take up the fight for adverbs. There I was, happily scribbling away, each word hungrily yearning to make it to the page until I realized how pretentiously boring they all sounded and erased them.

The hero strutted proudly about. The heroine quivered suddenly as she realized he was the only one for her. Quickly, they united in body and mind. Until the conflict heartlessly ripped them apart. The climax unerringly leaving them questioning each other's motives. Finally, the hero would gently raise the heroine's chin. He'd gaze lovingly into her eyes. He'd kiss her softly, slowly.

Disgustedly, I throw down the pen. My descriptions are packed full of adverbs, and yet I find them unendingly lacking. They're slow, boring, juvenile. Or, rather, they read slowly, boringly and juvenile-y. Just kidding. Still, as an editor, I can't say I haven't seen that done.

The ending is nearly here. The villain fruitlessly tries to win his spoils. The hero steps in, loudly proclaiming his good nature and heart. The heroine swoons delicately.

And everyone lives happily ever after.

And that is why everyone hates adverbs. Just say no to them. They're consistently padding otherwise solid writing. ... See?


  1. Nice post - it's late in the evening here in the UK and you made me smile.

    I was greedily sipping my coffee when I slowly skimmed your post and chuckled so uproariously I almost choked.

    Adverbs have their place, but they shouldn't be used to modify a bland verb when a stronger verb can do the job alone. Even worse, like in my little example above, adverbs that contradict the verb can create confusion.

  2. Oh, I'm glad you saw this! It was dedicated to you in my mind. You are the one who really brought adverbs and their evil ways to the forefront of my mind!

  3. Also, I like to repeat myself. Mind, mind, mind.